This week saw the launch of Abie Elle’s latest project: the ‘Released’ EP. The London based singer held a launch party at The Light House in Shoreditch on Sunday when the EP went live, hosting everyone involved in the project, including vocal coach Teish O’Day, main producer of the EP Squizzle Ital and of course her fans, to come together to see the culmination of her hard work.
Abie took to the stage with her backing singer @myagold and live band with guitarist @produceromari, drummer @Liambridgen and keys player @jonnyeoman to play through the tracks on the EP. Opening her set with an expressive and moving performance of ‘Have you met Grace?’ she showed from the very beginning her ability to express herself through her vocals and display herself as an artist who is able to amalgamate emotion, musical ability and audience interaction into a smooth performance. The band, with a concise but fluid and in sync sound, brought the music to a new height as she gave style and attitude performing ‘Watch your Back’ and had fun with involving the singing crowd in the story behind ‘Unruly’. She ended her performance with the Higher Levelz (@hl_music) remix of her previously released track, Hometown, which brought together her alt-soul melody with his reggae vibe mix.
I caught up with Abie after her amazing showcase to learn more about her and what went into the project:
‘I was born in east London, went to school there, and have lived there all my life. Singing and songwriting are big part of my soul and I could not imagine my life without them. I have sung for as long as I can remember. I once saw a video of myself singing at the age of 4. To be honest, the song sounded made up and I was singing it to my baby cousin. There were some real words, and some made up words but none the less it was a song with some sort of melody. I always sang and wanted to be an artist but didn’t always believe that I could. I did the odd school choir performance and some solo performances at school, sixth form and other events. Although, I never stopped singing to myself, family and friends there were times when I stopped singing at shows and pursuing a music career. Maybe it was because I was led to believe that it wasn’t realistic or achievable and that I needed to study and get a “real job”, and that’s what I did but my dream of being a music artist always remained. Later on in my life I began to believe that it was realistic and achievable if I just believed and put in the work. Now I can say that I am truly following my dream.’
You have such a distinct style, when it comes to fashion and your music, who and where do you draw your inspiration from with these things?
‘I have always loved listening to music from a number of different genres. As a young girl, I danced and sang along passionately with girl bands such as Destiny’s Child and the Spice Girls as I’m sure many girls around my age did. As I grew up and explored music further, I really began to connect with music by artists such as Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Etta James, Laura Mvula and other soulful sounds. I love the sound of their soulful voices and the way they manipulate words. I also have an appreciation for heartfelt lyrical content, which stretches from soul to other genres that I love such as reggae. Particularly, I love listening to Bob Marley, Lucky Dube and Beres Hammond. In addition, I can’t deny my love for a hip-hop baseline and beat. In terms of my own sound, I just allowed myself to create what felt natural to me along with what I like to hear in production. I would describe my sound as a fusion of Alternative RnB, Soul and Hip Hop.
In terms of my fashion, I like to make a statement. I love to have a slightly quirky or stand out piece when creating a look. When I pick outfits I think, I want to look and feel good whilst representing my brand as an artist. Most importantly I want my outfits to be a translation of my music, of my sound and of the particular songs I am going to perform in it. This puts me in the right mindset for a performance. My fashion is inspired by my music. My friends are always on stand by for fashion input, especially my friend Drea Milano who styled me for my ‘Released’ EP cover. Sometimes, I draw inspiration from a look that I see somewhere, but the best bit for me is being able to evolve it and make it my own.’
‘I first met Squizzle through a good friend of mine and he introduced me to Jovis and then eventually Omari. They are all super talented. Working with them was an amazing and comical experience. I’m sure that Squizzle would have lots of funny things to say to about our studio sessions. I am so grateful that I was able to work with them in bringing my music to life, while having lots of banter and laughs in between. I felt that they believed in my sound although it was still in the making. I had tried working with other producers in the past but it never really worked out, but with them it was like magic, everything just clicked. Amazingly, I met the passionate Higher Levelz (@hl_music) through facebook and he ended up producing ‘Hometown remix’ for my EP ‘Released’. Believe it or not we haven’t actually been in the studio together as yet, despite having some great creative sessions. Be sure to keep an ear out for that in future.’
It was so great to see you with a live band at your EP launch party with such a confident stage presence. Do you feel like this confidence has come naturally to you? What have you done to develop it?
‘I love live music and being able to feel the sound of the instruments resonate in me. The live band makes me become even more lost in the music. Also, I had an amazing audience, and could really feel the love and support. I would describe myself as being a confident person in day-to-day life but this wasn’t always easy to translate into my stage performance. My stage presence developed alongside the development of my sound and my branding as a music artist. Over the years, I have been blessed to be able to develop my performance skills with support from the lovely and gifted vocal coaches Teish O’day and Andrea Encinas.’
Over the past year I’ve seen lots of young females pushing themselves to grow and thrive as artists in the music scene, what’s your biggest piece of advice to other upcoming artists about making their mark in this industry?
I would encourage them to never give up on their dream and to keep working on artist branding and development as it is so important. Just like we get to know and understand the people who we meet in life, we need to know and understand our artist self. Some key questions they can ask themselves are: What is my artist name? What is my sound? What is my fashion? Who is my audience? What is the signature thing or things about me that I want my audience to remember? Once an artist begins to understand and develop who they are as an artist, they can truly invite others to follow their journey.
The EP ‘Released’ is available now on Apple Music and Spotify.